Archive | June, 2011

Flip Flop Fantastic

29 Jun

Flip flops, how I love thee- let me count the ways…

1) You slide on my feet without complaint

2) You don’t trap sand and wood chips from the playground

3) You look cute with anything, from pants to skirts

4) You feel good on my feet all day long, even in the hottest weather

5) You don’t mind getting wet

6) You’re affordable, so I can have a polygamous love affair with several of you

Nothing says “summer” on your feet quite like flip flops – they take me from the grocery store to watering flowers in the garden without a hiccup. I never have to think about matching with an outfit – the right flip flops will go with everything.

After a year of test-driving, here are my motherhood-compatible favorites:

Teva Mandalyn Ola Wedge

Teva Mandalyn Ola Wedge: why buy just one pair when a two-pack sells for $56?

The Teva Mandalyn Wedge Ola, which looks dressy (for a flip flop) thanks to the higher heel and thin, decorative straps, but does not compromise walkability and comfort. It hugs my foot with two straps on either side, and the footbed is cushy. It costs about $30 a pair (you can even buy them in 2-packs for $56 at Zappos with free shipping!) They come in many cute color combinations, but I forced myself to stop at two – the basic black and the brown – and between them, I have just about every outfit covered.

Mandalyn Wedge Side View

The heel on the Mandalyn Wedge strikes the perfect balance between style and comfort

Note that Teva also makes a Mandalyn flip flop with a standard heel, but if the product name doesn’t say “wedge” then the heel is flat. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between the two if viewed from above.

Speedo Womens Pool Thong

The Speedo Womens Pool Thong for poolside and beyond

The Speedo swim flip flop, the all-plastic & foam materials are highly water compatible but super cushy. It’s intended to be worn after getting out the pool but I find myself slipping it on to wear around the house (or in the garden when the hose comes on) because the straps and footbed cradle my foot in a lightweight pillow of foamy comfort.

Havaianas silver flip flop

The hip and ubiquitous Havaianas flip flop from Brazil - catchy, but worth $30?

It’s hard to miss the latest trend in flip flops, the Havaianas brand flip flop from Brazil. They’re on shoe racks and young feet everywhere. I can’t help but wonder how this company somehow manages to charge $30 for a pair of plastic flip flops that otherwise costs $5 at Old Navy. Is it pure cachet associated with the brand prominently displayed across the strap?  Its devotees swear they are the most comfortable flip flop in existence. I remain skeptical but must admit, after visiting their web site, the huge range of color options does appeal to me – as does the understated styling.  If there’s a color combination you can’t seem to find in the stores, you can even make your own and have it sent to you!

The Havaianas espadrille for $38 might well be my next shoe purchase.

One other style that caught my eye on Havaianas web store was their espadrilles for $38- they have taken the traditional cloth shoe upper and sewn it on their foam sole.  Sounds like a pretty cushy ride. Since I have otherwise not been able to find an espadrille under $80 (which I find to be an obscene price for a shoe made of straw and cloth), I might end up springing for a pair of these to wear in a summery color like red or aqua blue.

However, it’s going to be hard to resist ordering a pair of flip flops for my daughter, who adores them almost as much as I do. The heel strap on the “baby” styles makes the shoe more compatible with the littlest walkers. These shoes are yet another reason why it’s often more fun to shop for my kids than for myself. I wouldn’t choose a gold flip flop for myself, but somehow, I know my 2 year old daughter could pull these off with style points to spare.

Havaianas baby flip flop

Havaianas Baby flip flop in Butterfly

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Cardigans

2 Jun

If there is one piece of clothing I have come to rely on lately, it’s my cardigan.  For a while I seemed to find myself in the same jeans and hooded sweatshirt on a pretty consistent basis.  As I was thinking more about my beloved cardigans, and pondering just how long I’ve had both my black and white one (too many years to mention publicly, as it turns out), I wondered why I haven’t made better use out of these simple yet fashionable items.  For one thing, they are thin cotton and we are still (somehow) dealing with wintry weather here in the Bay area.  Putting a coat over a cardigan just doesn’t feel right.  So, my instinct is to cover up with something warmer and since it can’t be my blanket (pipe dream), I choose my hoodie or a t-shirt/sweater combo.  Also, I think that although most cardigans have some kind of button or snap, sometimes I just want to throw something on or zip something up and go.  There is just not enough time to be selective and thoughtful when you are mom-blasted out of bed in the morning (“MAMA!” “MAMA!” “MAAAAA!” is pretty much what we hear in this house) and in need of more coffee.

But, cardigans do work and can actually play a functional role in preparing for a mom’s day of work.  There are so many out there and it really only takes a few seconds to button them up.  For those of us who are rather deft, a one-handed buttoning while assisting with socks, shoes and the like is perfectly doable.  Some even have snaps for greater ease of use.  And if you have mastered the belt (which I still can’t quite pull off for various reasons), you can slide that t-shirt or tank over your head, toss your cardigan on and then just slip a belt around your waist and go.

I started doing a search online and found some really nice and very affordable options.  As it turns out, cardigans are everywhere and come in all kinds of fabrics, styles and shapes. Many seem to have some sort of embellishment on them as well which makes for a very put together and dressed up feeling.  For me, there aren’t many requirements either.  Since they are so basic, I’d just like them to be affordable, “easy to use” (read: thrown on at a moment’s notice) and perhaps work for both daytime and evening.

Old Navy and Gap tend to have some really affordable, sweet looking ones that work well with a variety of outfits.

 I recently bought a nice little pink number (above) which was $15 and is now out of stock on Old Navy’s website.  It’s so soft and the embellishments actually hold up in the wash.  While it’s not something I could necessarily wear around the playground, it is something that could work for various kiddie classes, i.e. music, gym, errands and then convert easily for date night.

Another one I ended up purchasing was a warm, wooly one from Anthropologie on sale for $40.  It’s got snaps!  And it’s tailored in such a way that it adds a flattering hour glass shape to your look.  This works with ANYTHING underneath.  That old, worn t-shirt you just feel like you need to be in or a cute tank or cami.  Works both ways.

And finally, a long, green cardi from Land’s End.  It has been great with skinny jeans and leggings.  Plus, on warmer days I can add 1 or 2 tanks (layered) underneath and I am ready for a romp around town, kiddie style.

While I was searching around for some updated cardis, I came across an article called “5 Reasons You Should Own a Cardigan.”   Like a Hallmark card, it pretty much says everything I would want to say about this topic.  Although, I did modify it a bit based on personal experience and to work with the subject of this blog.  You can find the original here.  Enjoy!

  • They add color & interest to any outfit. Buy a cardigan in a bright color to dress up a neutral outfit. A plain black tank top looks amazing with a colorful cardigan, jeans and some simple jewelry.  You could even dare to match crazy patterns under some of the darker solid cardis out there.
  • Dress them up or down. Cardigans are great for throwing on to run errands, a playdate or the playground and staying warm, but are equally awesome to wear for date night or a moms night out.
  • You’ll be prepared for any weather. Throw a cardigan in your Diaper/Tote (or in my case Whole Foods Eco) bag to protect from unexpected cold outside or even arctic air conditioning. You’ll look cute and be comfortable no matter what!
  • Wear your summer tank tops into fall. All those fabulous summer tank tops you own are good throughout the winter with a simple cardigan on top. Hello wardrobe versatility!
  • Shower Curtain /Stain Shield I chose this title because I seriously feel like I am showered with so many stains throughout the day that being naked would be a relief.  A cardigan is the perfect coverall to hide those indecencies, leaving only you and your tiny tot with the knowledge that they are really there.  On the other hand, they can pose as the first layer of defense when you don’t want to mess up a “special” article of clothing underneath.
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